Sunday 15 September 2019

Ozil axed to boost physicality - Emery

Bournemouth 1 Arsenal 2

Mesut Ozil watches on from the sideline
Mesut Ozil watches on from the sideline

Sam Dean

Unai Emery said his decision to drop Mesut Ozil from his Arsenal starting line-up was motivated by a need to cope with Bournemouth's "physicality and intensity".

It was the first time that Ozil had started a Premier League game on the bench this season, and the German was not called upon.

Asked why he had dropped Ozil, the club's highest earner, Emery said: "We thought how we can be better in the match, a very demanding match with physicality and intensity.

"Also today we tried with three centre-backs, like in some moments this season, we worked today and it is another possibility to improve or find our best performance in the squad."

When it was put to Emery that his comments suggested he did not trust Ozil in games of this intensity, he said: "In the beginning of the season we were speaking every day about the need to be competitive. We need to be organised, we need the individual quality to improve our performance. It is the same today."

Emery praised the way his players kept their heads after conceding an equaliser to Bournemouth's Joshua King, who scored with the final kick of the first half. Pierre Emerick Aubameyang's close-range finish sealed the victory which moves the Londoners to within a point of fourth-placed Chelsea.

Arsenal's Henrikh Mkhitaryan feels the full force of a tackle from Bournemouth's Jefferson Lerma. Photo: REUTERS/David Klein
Arsenal's Henrikh Mkhitaryan feels the full force of a tackle from Bournemouth's Jefferson Lerma. Photo: REUTERS/David Klein

"Today is 17 matches we have not lost, but the last three matches we drew," Emery said. "We know that is not enough for us."

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe said his side were "on the wrong end of the luck" after David Brooks had a goal disallowed for offside and Jefferson Lerma struck a post.

"It could have been very different," Howe said. "In a game like this you need every bit of luck you can find if you are us, and it was missing for us. It is such fine margins between getting something out of the game and not."

After their bright start to the campaign Bournemouth have now lost consecutive games to Manchester United, Newcastle and Arsenal.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang tucks away Arsenal's winning goal. Photo: Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang tucks away Arsenal's winning goal. Photo: Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley

"It was the same with Manchester United," Howe said. "We took them to the limit and came away beaten in that match.

"It is very important that the players' confidence levels don't get affected by those defeats." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Joshua King is surrounded and dispossessed by Arsenal's Shkodran Mustafi and Granit Xhaka. Photo: Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley
Joshua King is surrounded and dispossessed by Arsenal's Shkodran Mustafi and Granit Xhaka. Photo: Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley
Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno scrambles the ball clear. Photo: REUTERS/David Klein
Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno scrambles the ball clear. Photo: REUTERS/David Klein

Telegraph.co.uk

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